Game 8 — Deja-vu in Oregon
Game eight on my Top 10 Games list is one of two games that ended with a loss for the Ducks.
After just missing a berth in the MNJHL Championship Series and ultimately, a spot at Nationals in the spring of 2013, a large group of returners entered the 2013-14 campaign looking to take another step in its season.
The MNJHL doubled in size for the season, absorbing many teams from a rival league and as a result there were two divisions that played their own schedules, the lone crossover being Showcase events.
Two teams stood out on the season dominating their respective divisions. While the Ducks rolled to a 38-6-2 record to wrap up the Minnesota Division title, 14-points clear of the second place Maple Grove Energy, the Marquette Royales were equally as dominant in the Central Division finishing at 37-9, edging out the Illiana Blackbirds for the crown.
The two met just once in the regular season, the Ducks claiming a narrow win.
In the post season, the Ducks picked up series wins against the Minnesota Owls and Rochester Ice Hawks to advance to a league championship weekend in Oregon, Wis. Along with the Hudson Crusaders from the Minnesota Division. From the other side was the Royales and the Blackbirds. The Ducks swept the Blackbirds in a two-game semi-final set while the Royales managed to grab a series win against the Crusaders in a great semi-final that went the three-game distance.
On a Monday afternoon the Ducks and Royales squared off once again for the league title. Despite a heavy advantage in shots on goal, the Ducks managed just a tie through regulation time. Some close chances went just wide of the post or stopped just short of the goal line.
The overtime was short-lived as a failed clearing attempt by the Ducks ultimately resulted in the game and Bush Cup winning goal for the Royales.
For a second straight season, the Ducks watched their opponent presented the Bush Cup Trophy following a heartbreaking overtime defeat.
I wish I had more details on this game. Again, it is being printed straight from my own memory and this time around there is no artwork to go with it.
The blow was softened the second time around as the league sent both finalists to the National Championship tournament where the Ducks went on to enjoy some success with wins in two of its three round-robin pool matches.